Nutro Grain-Free Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros, and Cons

nutro-grain free review

Our Final Verdict

We give Nutro Grain-Free dog food a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars:

Introduction

Built on providing clean nutrition to canines of all shapes and sizes, Nutro manufactures some of the most popular grain-free formulas on the market.

Since Nutro is available in larger retailers than its independently-owned competitors, many owners turn to its products first when switching their dog to a grain-free diet. Nutro also tends to be more affordable than premium grain-free food sold by other brands.

While Nutro’s grain-free formulas are an affordable and accessible resource for dogs with diagnosed grain sensitivities, these recipes are far from ideal for the average pooch. In many cases, owners are better off feeding one of Nutro’s grain-inclusive formulas instead.

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At a Glance: The Best Nutro Grain-Free Dog Food Recipes:

As one of the industry’s leaders in limited ingredient formulas, many of Nutro’s most popular products are grain free. Here are a few of the best recipes available right now:

Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Winner
Nutro Feed Clean Adult Nutro Feed Clean Adult
  • Grain and gluten free
  • Available in most pet food retailers
  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Second place
    Nutro Daily Nutrition Nutro Daily Nutrition
  • Does not contain GMOs or artificial ingredients
  • Ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies
  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Third place
    Nutro Cuts in Gravy Nutro Cuts in Gravy
  • High in moisture
  • Beef is the first ingredient
  • Comes in pre-portioned trays
  • Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet in Can Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet in Can
  • Specially designed for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients
  • Farm-raised fish is the first ingredient
  • Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Small Bites Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Small Bites
  • With Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients
  • Lamb Is The #1 Ingredient
  • Grain Free
  • Nutro Grain-Free Dog Food Reviewed

    Nutro currently offers dozens of wet and dry dog food recipes that are made without grains, such as wheat, corn, and rice. Some of these recipes are just grain-free versions of the brand’s grain-inclusive line, but others are specifically formulated for dogs with mild to severe food sensitivities that require a limited ingredient diet.

    Who Makes Nutro Grain-Free and Where Is It Produced?

    The Nutro brand is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. Along with various pet food brands, including Greenies, Pedigree, and Iams, Mars also manufactures M&M’s, Snickers, and Milky Way.

    Don’t worry, the pet food and candy production lines are completely independent of each other!

    All Nutro products are manufactured in the United States. However, the company does utilize imported ingredients in its formulas.

    Which Types of Dogs Is Nutro Grain-Free Best Suited For?

    Nutro Grain-Free formulas are a great option for any dog who can’t handle consuming grains on a regular basis.

    Many dogs struggle with some degree of food sensitivity, where certain ingredients trigger symptoms like itchy skin, stomach upset, rashes, and even chronic eye and ear infections. Unfortunately, grains are recognized as one of the most common triggers for these symptoms.

    Before assuming your dog has a grain sensitivity and switching over to a grain-free diet, we strongly encourage scheduling an appointment with your vet. While your dog’s symptoms may be a result of food sensitivities, there’s also a chance that something else is going on underneath the surface. Your vet can eliminate other potential health issues and guide you through transitioning to a grain-free diet if necessary.

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    Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better With a Different Brand?

    With what we know at this time, most vets and animal nutritionists only recommend feeding a grain-free diet if it is medically necessary. Grain-free dog food is an excellent resource for those who need it but may do more harm than good for the average dog.

    The FDA has even reported a potential link between popular grain-free formulas and an increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

    Along with its grain-free products, Nutro also offers many grain-inclusive formulas. If your dog doesn’t require a grain-free diet, you may want to consider something like the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Food instead.

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    A Quick Look at Nutro Grain-Free Dog Food

    Pros
    • Ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Wide variety of specialized formulas
    • Meat is always the first ingredient
    • Available in most pet food retailers
    Cons
    • Grain-free food may not be ideal for all dogs
    • Brand has a recall history

    Recall History

    The Nutro brand does have a recall history, though it is nowhere as extensive as some other popular pet food companies.

    In 2007, Nutro recalled several varieties of canned dog food formulas potentially contaminated with melamine.

    In 2009, a few varieties of Nutro cat food were recalled because the levels of potassium and zinc were incorrect.

    Again in 2009, Nutro recalled select varieties of dry puppy food because plastic was discovered in the production line.

    In 2015, several lots of Nutro dog treats were recalled due to possibly containing mold.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Nutro Grain-Free Dog Food Recipes

    Since a large portion of Nutro’s dog food range is based on grain-free recipes, most owners will have no trouble finding one that suits their dog. For our review, though, let’s take a look at three of the most popular formulas sold under the Nutro Grain-Free label:

    1. Nutro Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food (Lamb, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes)

    NUTRO GRAIN FREE Adult Natural Dry Dog Food Lamb,...
    69 Reviews
    NUTRO GRAIN FREE Adult Natural Dry Dog Food Lamb,...
    • Contains one (1) 24 lb. bag of NUTRO GRAIN FREE Natural Adult Dry Dog Food Lamb, Lentils and Sweet...
    • The #1 ingredient is real lamb for a delicious taste and wholesome diet

    The Nutro Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food comes in a few different flavors, including the Pasture-Fed Lamb, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes Recipe. This formula features deboned lamb as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, potatoes, and lentils. Like all Nutro formulas, this one is made without GMOs or artificial ingredients.

    Nutro Grain-Free Adult Dry Dog Food (Lamb, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes)

    For more information on this formula from dog owners who have already tried it, we suggest checking out the Amazon reviews here.

    Pros
    • Grain and gluten free
    • Made in the U.S.
    • Available in most pet food retailers
    • Meat is the first ingredient
    • High in protein
    • Free of GMOs and artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • More expensive than some other formulas
    • Grain-free formula may not be ideal for all dogs

    2. Nutro Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Chicken, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes)

    NUTRO GRAIN FREE Adult Large Breed Natural Dry Dog...
    111 Reviews
    NUTRO GRAIN FREE Adult Large Breed Natural Dry Dog...
    • Contains one (1) 24 lb. bag of NUTRO GRAIN FREE Natural Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Foot Farm-Raised...
    • The #1 ingredient is farm-raised chicken for a delicious taste and wholesome diet

    If your dog is from a large or giant breed, then they likely have unique nutritional needs that not all regular adult formulas will meet. The Nutro Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food is a great alternative for these cases. The Farm-Raised Chicken, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes Recipe lists chicken and chicken meal as the first ingredients, offering plenty of meat-based protein.

    Nutro Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Chicken, Lentils & Sweet Potatoes)

    To hear what other owners of large breed dogs have to say about this food, you can read the Amazon reviews here.

    Pros
    • Formulated for the needs of larger breeds
    • Made in the U.S.
    • Meat is the first ingredient
    • Does not contain GMOs or artificial ingredients
    • Ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies
    Cons
    • May not be available at all Nutro retailers
    • Subject to grain-free diet scrutiny

    3. Nutro Grain-Free Cuts in Gravy (Beef & Potato Stew)

    NUTRO Adult High Protein Natural Grain Free Wet...
    128 Reviews
    NUTRO Adult High Protein Natural Grain Free Wet...
    • Contains twenty-four (24) 3.5 oz. trays of NUTRO Grain Free Wet Dog Food Cuts in Gravy Simmered Beef...
    • Real beef is the first ingredient in this delicious wet dog food

    Though most of Nutro’s most popular formulas are dry kibbles, we wanted to take a look at one of the better-selling wet formulas offered by the brand. The Nutro Grain-Free Cuts in Gravy in Beef & Potato Stew is a great option for a full meal, one-in-a-while treat, or topper for your dog’s dry food. The first ingredient is beef, followed by chicken and pork broths.

    Nutro Grain-Free Cuts in Gravy (Beef & Potato Stew)

    If you’re interested in learning more about Nutro’s Grain-Free wet food, check out the Amazon reviews for this formula here.

    Pros
    • High in moisture
    • Made in the U.S.
    • Great for dogs with dental issues
    • Beef is the first ingredient
    • Comes in pre-portioned trays
    • Made without GMOs or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Portions are too small for large dogs
    • Some dogs dislike the flavor

    What Other Users Are Saying

    Since Nutro is one of the most popular purveyors of grain-free dog food, many of its formulas have been extensively reviewed across the internet and beyond. Here’s what a few other sources have to say about the Nutro Grain-Free recipes:

    DogFoodAdvisor: “Nutro Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meal as its main source of animal protein … Highly recommended.”

    MyPetNeedsThat.com: “One of the main reasons to choose this brand is the company’s commitment to using non-GMO ingredients in all of their food. Aside from this, their recipes are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and contain no by-products or fillers.”

    Dog Food Insider: “People love the natural ingredients and the flexibility of lines like ULTRA and Rotations. They consistently have four and five-star ratings online.”

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    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for an affordable, easy-to-find grain-free formula for your dog, then Nutro is probably one of your best options. This brand uses high-quality ingredients without charging a small fortune, while also being available in many supermarkets and national pet food retailers.

    However, if your dog is not already on a grain-free diet and your vet hasn’t suggested making the switch, you’re probably better off trying out one of Nutro’s grain-inclusive formulas first. These recipes use the same high-quality ingredients and provide balanced nutrition without the potential risks of grain-free food. As always, your vet is the best resource if you have any questions about your dog’s diet.

    Have you tried any of Nutro’s grain-free or grain-inclusive formulas? Or do you have a favorite grain-free dog food from another brand? Let us know in the comments below!